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10 overlooked VA disabilities

There are many disabilities veterans and VA medical staff seem to overlook or set aside indefinitely, causing veterans to miss out on a chance to file a claim for a service-connected disability. Take a look at the Top 10 overlooked disabilities missed by veterans and VA medical staff.

1. Erectile Dysfunction — Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is the inability of a man to have an erection hard enough to have sexual intercourse. It can also be known as impotence. It is not unusual for this to happen to a man on occasion, but frequent ED can be a sign of a bigger medical problem that needs attention. ED can also lead to complications in a man's life all on its own.

2. Agoraphobia — The essential feature of Agoraphobia is anxiety about being in (or anticipating) situations from which escape might be difficult or in which help may not be available in the event of having a Panic Attack (or panic-like symptoms). Oftentimes, when in this situation, an individual may have the vague thought that something dreadful may happen. Such concerns must persist for at least six months and occur virtually every time an individual encounters the place or situation (especially those that remind a veteran of battle situations). Agoraphobic fears typically involve characteristic clusters of situations that include being outside the home alone; being in a crowd or standing in a line; being on a bridge; and traveling in a bus, train, or automobile. More specifically, the diagnostic criteria in the DSM-5 requires that an individual experiences intense fear in response to (or when anticipating entering) at least two of the following five situations:

• Using public transportation, such as automobiles, buses, trains, ships, or planes.

• Being in open spaces, such as parking lots, marketplaces, or bridges.

• Being in enclosed spaces, such as shops, theaters, or cinemas.

• Standing in line or being in a crowd.

• Being outside of the home alone.

A person who experiences agoraphobia avoids such situations (e.g., travel is restricted; the person changes daily routines) or else they are endured with significant distress. For example, people with agoraphobia often require the presence of a companion, such as a family member, partner, or friend, to confront the situation.

3. Keloids — A scar that rises quite abruptly above the rest of the skin. It is irregularly shaped, usually pink to red in color, tends to enlarge progressively, and may be harder than the surrounding skin. Keloids are a response to trauma, such as a cut to the skin. In creating a normal scar, connective tissue in the skin is repaired by the formation of collagen. Keloids arise when extra collagen forms.

4. Sexually Transmitted Diseases — Under revision. check with your local VAO/VSO.

5. Pseudofolliculitis Barbae — a common condition of the beard area occurring in men and other people with curly hair. The problem results when highly curved hairs grow back into the skin causing inflammation and a foreign body reaction. Over time, this can cause scarring which looks like hard bumps of the beard area and neck.

6. Plantar Fasciitis — Plantar fasciitis is the pain caused by inflammation of the insertion of the plantar fascia on the medial process of the calcaneal tuberosity. The pain may be substantial, resulting in the alteration of daily activities. Various terms have been used to describe plantar fasciitis, including jogger's heel, tennis heel, policeman's heel, and even gonorrheal heel. Although a misnomer, this condition is sometimes referred to as heel spurs by the general public.

7. Pleurisy — Pleurisy is inflammation of the parietal pleura that typically results in characteristic pleuritic pain and has a variety of possible causes. The term "pleurisy" is often used to refer to a symptom and a condition. It is more precise to use the term "pleurisy" for the condition and "pleuritic pain" to describe the symptom. Pleuritic pain is a key feature of pleurisy; therefore, this article reviews the physiology and classic characteristics of pleuritic pain, focusing on the presentation and diagnosis of the patient and the management of various causes of pleurisy.

Pleuritic chest pain is a common presenting symptom and has many causes, which range from life-threatening to benign, self-limited conditions.

8. Tropical Phagedena (Jungle Rot) — tropical phagedena, Aden ulcer, Malabar ulcer, and jungle rot (from Vietnam) , as well as various native terms. It occurs on exposed parts of the body, primarily the legs, arms, and feet. Frequently on pre-existing abrasions or sores, sometimes beginning from a scratch. As a rule, only one extremity is affected and usually there is a single lesion, although it is not uncommon to find multiple ulcers on two or more body parts.

9. Hemorrhoids — Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins around the anus or in the lower rectum. The rectum is the last part of the large intestine leading to the anus. The anus is the opening at the end of the digestive tract where bowel contents leave the body.

10. Sleep Terror Disorder - Sleep terror disorder is also known as night terrors. The disturbance cannot be due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition. Sleep terror is characterized by the following symptoms that a mental health professional looks for when making a diagnosis for this condition:

• Recurrent episodes of abrupt awakening from sleep, usually occurring during the first third of the major sleep episode and beginning with a panicky scream.

• Intense fear and signs of autonomic arousal, such as tachycardia, rapid breathing, and sweating, during each episode.

• Relative unresponsiveness to efforts of others to comfort the person during the episode.

• No detailed dream is recalled and there is amnesia for the episode.

• The episodes cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. [Source: May 1, 2017]

As always please see your local County Veterans Service Officer if you have any questions. You can contact your local VSO at (218) 631-7617 or by email at and as always have a great week.